Thought For The Day – Wednesday 7th June 2023
The photograph above is called “Taxis to Hell – and Back – Into the Jaws of Death” and was taken by Robert F. Sargent, CPhoM, USCG. The original caption reads: “American invaders spring from the ramp of a Coast Guard-manned landing barge to wade those last perilous yards to the beach of Normandy. Enemy fire will cut some of them down.”
Tuesday 6th June marked the 79th anniversary of the “D-Day”, or Normandy, landings, the largest ever air, land and sea operation attempted.
Next year, 2024, will be particularly significant as the 80th anniversary is remembered.
This mission was also called “Operation Neptune”. This was the first stage of “Operation Overlord”. Within 11 months, the evil of Nazism would be defeated.
Nazism divided, isolated, bullied, persecuted, tortured and murdered people. Nazism was, and is, antisemitic, racist, sexist, prejudicial and discriminatory to LGBT+ people, ableist, disablist, ageist and classist.
D-Day marked a turning point in the war, after 5 long years of suffering and struggle beyond words in the Second World War. The colossal fightback in Europe against Nazi fascism had begun.
D-Day involved 156,000 troops landing on beaches, supported by ships (who gathered at a location in the Channel called Piccadilly Circus) with troops parachuted behind enemy lines. One of those ships, “HMS Belfast”, is today by Tower Bridge in London, where it can be visited. A dramatic reconstruction of the events of D-Day forms the opening to the classic film “Saving Private Ryan”, filmed in the beautiful and moving American Cemetery on Omaha Beach.
D-Day saw the UK, US, Canada, France, Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Greece, New Zealand, Norway, Poland and countries known now as The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Zimbabwe all worked together.
As ever, planning was vital. Conditions (the moon and the tides) had to be perfect. D-Day was postponed by 24 hours because of this. The composition of the soil on landing beeches was investigated for many months beforehand. A deception plan, including the use of parachuted mannequins and misinformation, weeks ahead of D-Day, led the Nazi forces to expect the invasion further along the coast.
We formally remember in November, with beautiful poppies which grew out of suffering beyond words.
As time passes, and the years pass by, veterans, survivors and those who sacrificed, served and suffered, and who still sacrifice, serve and suffer, pass to a perfect and heavenly shore.
As we live in the present, and look forward to the future, we never ever forget our debt to, and the inspiration and the lessons we have learnt from, the past.